A shorthanded South Dakota team dropped its Summit League opener Sunday afternoon at Denver, 91-84.

The Coyotes were without starter Heidi Hoff, who's done for the year with a torn ACL, while leading scorer Nicole Seekamp was making her first appearance after missing the last two games with an injury.

Picking up the scoring slack for the Coyotes was junior Raeshel Contreras, who had 14 first half points, as USD fell behind by as many as 11, thanks to a Pioneer 19-5 run, and a stretch that saw the Coyotes go more than four minutes without a field goal.

Theresa Wirth keyed Denver in the first half with 15 points and 6 rebounds.

But just before the break, USD battled back with a 7-0 run of their own, cutting the lead to 42-38 at intermission.

In the second half, the Coyotes were in the game most of the way, trading baskets with the Pioneers, and even leading 64-63 with 9:17 left.

But down the stretch, USD was just 4-of-19, while Denver shot 60% in the second half to secure the win.

The Pioneer defense also capitalized on Coyote mistakes, turning 14 USD turnovers into 24 points.

Wirth led the way with 26 points, pre-season all-first team selection Morgan Van-Riper Rose added 22.

Contrrearas paced USD with 21, including 4 3-pointers.  Margaret McCloud had 14, Seekamp was just 1-of-7 from the floor in 31 minutes, but did make 11 free throws for 13 points.  Polly Harrington also had 13, Tia Hemiller 11.

The loss was just the third in the last 11 games for the Coyotes.

South Dakota (9-7/0-1) plays at IUPUI and Fort Wayne in next week's Summit League action.